Being able to come together with colleges and fellow librarians is always a great way to finalizing thoughts or start new ones. Never visiting Library 21c, I was blown away by how beautiful the architecture and atmosphere was. Since the setting was right, we were able to start our day off good. I enjoyed the overall day, but one particular session stood out to me was Teen Librarian-ing for Introverts. My location has a lot of teens, and sometimes they can be difficult to deal with. Whitney Walker from High Plains Library District is an introvert herself. She broke down how an introvert handles situations, and how they need to re-energized. Walker opened my eyes to the reasoning for the types of behavior that I typically see with teens and how to handle the situation appropriately. She also recommended great program ideas for your location is you have a lot of introverted teens, or if you are an introvert how to deal with teens. I am an extrovert, and sometimes it is hard for me to think twice about what an introvert is dealing with.
I had a great time at the 2017 Winter CATs Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
It was a fun learning experience for me I learned to branch out my outreach pool to churches. What a great idea! Never thought about it before but they have lots of kids programs that we could co sponsor with them. I even found some great resources for grants that I never thought of before to help with our STREAM projects.
I am even going to check with the schools to see if we could do a credit system for having the teens do volunteering or write reviews on our books. To have an incentive that benefits them at school as well as at the library is a great way to get them involved more at the library. Food is great but this will also teach them that it is a time worthy possibility for them to work hard, be reliable and feel good about what they have accomplished.
I loved the Grey Havens presentation at the end of the seminar who knew that kids could have such minds that physics became reality without anyone even realizing it.
I am currently working on getting the schools to work with us on the credit system, working with churches, and I am checking out a grant currently to help with the STREAM programming. I am going to be contacting Grey Havens about how to get a fandom going at our library!
Thank you CATs there is so much that I learned and would like to do from the conference that it is hard to get it all down.
Public Service Librarian
Red Feather Lakes Community Library/Red Feather Mountain Library District
I work as Teen Librarian for Pueblo City-County Library District, and I was heartbroken at a recent meeting to see a report that included some staggering statistics about teen suicide. Our city’s teen suicide rate is twice that of the state-wide reported rate. In a survey used in our public high schools, one in two teens who report identifying as LGBTQ+ also report “having seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months.” Only 50.7% of these teens report that they have an adult to talk to. As a community, we are working on a mental health stigma reduction campaign, anti-bullying training and other efforts to help educate and protect our youth. This work takes time and money, though, and there are other things that we can do in the meantime to help these youth.
I’m sure everyone has seen the emphasis on #ownvoices and the call for more diversity in YA books. Included in this is the push for more LGBTQ+ representation. We have seen the reports that show the importance of seeing ourselves reflected in the books that we read, or at least seeing that representation on bookshelves. I was so excited to attend the opening session of CATS, where Robin Kurz, PhD, of Emporia State University spoke on “Librarian Censorship of GLBTQ Youth Titles.” A September 2016 School Library Journal article included the results of a survey it sent out regarding censorship, and to mixed reviews, noted that the amount of self-censorship reported by librarians had increased since their previous survey in 2008. Kurz designed and completed a study of over 500 public libraries in the United States that investigated whether the libraries’ collections included 26 award-winning YA titles that have LGBTQ+ representation. She explained that although she could not definitely point to self-censorship as the cause for the absence of certain titles, she did her best to control for other variables. She considered libraries’ budgets and the size of the population served. Even after considering these factors, she was not able to find a bell curve in her data. There simply were some libraries that held the books and some libraries that didn’t. Many libraries were noticeably missing an award-winning book with LGBTQ+ representation despite having that same author’s other books. Unfortunately, the only trend seemed to be that many of the books were not offered at many of the libraries included in the study.
The message of the presentation was simple: be aware of your collection. Make sure that your Collection Policy mentions awards lists and a variety of booklists; many of the books with LGBTQ+ representation are winning awards and making prominent booklists, so this inclusion can help protect your purchase decisions. Beyond making sure that these books are available, give them the attention that you give other note-worthy books. Include them in your displays and include them in reader’s advisory suggestions. Remember that libraries are meant to serve a wide variety of people, and this includes LGBTQ+ teens. They may ask for these books outright, or they may just want to know that they are an option. Either way, everyone benefits from having a broader array of experiences represented in our collections.
Teen Librarian, PCCLD
I very much enjoyed the session on Process Art, it gave me new insight on adult expectations vs children’s expectations. And we need to remember that the toddler and preschool programs are for those exact patrons, the toddlers and preschoolers. Anyone who has ever run a children’s program knows that one parent who will have issue with Process Art – Art for Arts sake. The presenters acknowledged the “handsy” parents and provided a great tool to use when dealing with them. It will be so empowering to offer those and all parents the opportunity to make their own creation, rather than impose their will on their child’s artwork. I love that we have the ability to redirect the parent without telling them No or embarrassing them. That is a powerful tool.
Process Art – or Art for Art’s sake represents a paradigm shift in storytime crafts. By putting out materials (paint, paper, glue, tissue paper…) and not giving an example, sample or directions, we encourage creativity and autonomy in the kids. If the story is about frogs, perhaps the colors provided will be green and yellow and blue. The children then take what they heard and what they felt during storytime, then they create their own theme on paper. This type of open ended creativity gives a child’s mind wings and freedom. The presenters made the observation that a child given examples made by an adult is creating an impossible task. Toddlers do not have the fine motor skills that an adult has, we should never expect them to recreate something an adult created. Often with crafts that is exactly what we are doing. Rather than being liberated in the artistic opportunity, they are being given unrealistic expectation and the child is caged with thoughts of “Don’t Mess Up”. Of course they are going to mess up, let them.
The presenters also made the suggestion that we do not evaluate any of the crafts, not even to say something is “good” or “nice”. By avoiding assigning judgement continues to allow kids to work through their own process. And we have all embarrassed ourselves by commenting on a child’s art, only to find that what the child created was not what we saw. Think “Billy I love that cloud you drew” only to have little Billy’s reply be “It’s not a cloud, it’s my bird Fluffy, cuz he ate too many marshmallows and now he is flying up to heaven”. Yeah we have all had those conversations and they never end well. In the Process Art session we are reminded to ask open ended questions, allowing the artist to tell us what they created. An example of an open ended question would be to ask…”Would you like to tell me what you created?” or “Can you tell me what you are working on there?”
Mostly what I took away from the Process Art session is that we need to empower our kids, giving them the materials and freedom to make their own expectations. And modeling positive behaviors for parents.
Resa Mai, Clearview Library District
Hello! My name is Dominique and I am the Youth Services Librarian at the Lafayette Public Library here in Colorado. I had an incredible time at the CATS Winter Workshop and took away so many new ideas for my own library. Before I talk about how awesome the workshop was, I want to say thank you to everyone involved and for the scholarship to attend. The entire workshop was so much fun and it allowed me to connect with librarians from all over Colorado. Getting to attend the workshop with my coworker Lisa only added to the experience. We started our mini road trip with a coffee stop (of course!) and then talked library ideas all the way to Colorado Springs. The drive combined with the coffee added to our excitement!
Then we arrived at Library 21c and fell in love with it. We really liked how they organized their children’s area and we definitely took photos to share with our coworkers here in Lafayette. We did attend the opening and closing sessions together, but decided to split up during the conference to cover more ground. I attended “Katniss for President! Creative Ways to Partner With Schools,” “STEAM Works,” and “Everything You Wanted to Know About Beginning Readers But Were Afraid to Ask.” Since this is just a short blog post, I’m only going to write about one of the sessions I attended. However, I will admit that I have pages and pages of notes from all the sessions, because they were all marvelous and so informative!
“Katniss for President! Creative Ways to Partner With Schools” was the first session I attended and I thought it was and is very applicable to my library. I loved that they took their programming to the schools and how creative they were with their outreach. Here are some of the takeaway points that really stood out to me from their session:
- Librarians should visit schools all year long and not just for summer reading. This way you do not have to re-introduce yourself every year for summer reading.
- If you have a large team, then define roles and have one point of contact for schools. This makes communicating easier for all involved.
- Connect with staff at the schools in your community to create a long-term partnership between the school and the library.
- Try connecting with the school’s English teacher and not just the librarian.
- One event the speakers talked about that they do is during Tech Week. They come in to the school and have a week long program with interactive and passive programming. They also bring in new technology for teens to explore.
- Teen Read Week is another great way to have a presence at the schools in your community. You can set-up a table to give out free books or have enter to wins.
- Try to visit schools in your area at least once a month.
- Another program that the speakers did in their community was a take on “Silent Library” from MTV. They had teens perform challenges in the library without laughing or talking.
- Sticky notes on Face Challenge (Put sticky notes on face)
- Airplane Challenge (Make as many airplanes in 60 sec.)
- Unicorn Marshmallow Challenge. (Pile marshmallows on forehead)
- When you visit schools bring library cards, so that teens can sign-up for a card.
- Bring a menu of items and services the library offers to give to teachers and students at the schools.
- Another outreach method they use is recording videos or audio for morning announcements at schools. It is an easy way to share information with schools without having to physically be there.
I hope these takeaway points give you some new ideas for your own library if you weren’t at the conference. I definitely want to try the Silent Library Game at my next Teen Town Hall. I think the Unicorn Marshmallow Challenge will be a huge hit and get lots of laughs from the tweens and teens. I truly loved everything from the early morning mini road trip to learning about early readers and even getting to dance like Baby Groot! The conference was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to attend next year.
Youth Services Librarian
Fun is the Final Product: Process Art for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Presenters Kristen Bodine and Katie O’Brian
This was my favorite session of the day. The session began with the participants making their own art using liquid starch and tissue paper shapes. It was a good ice breaker. I talked to other librarians as we made art.
The librarians introduced us to process art. I had heard of process art before, but I wanted to know more. It is all about the process not the product. There are no instructions to follow, no sample, The project is child focused and directed. The goal of my new program series is for the children to be creative, learn, and have fun. This fits in perfectly.
At the beginning of this year I started a new program series called Kids Club for ages 4-7 that is once a week. I was seeking new ideas for this program and decided that this session sounded interesting. I plan on using the ideas that they shared for Kids Club. Children love to paint. They want to paint every week. I just needed more ideas on types of activities that they could do with the paint. Some of the ideas I am going to use are: play music while painting, coffee filter watercolors, circle art, yarn painting, and tissue paper painting. They also provided a list of resources for more information.
Thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas and information.
Pueblo City County Library District
Thank you to everyone who came to the CATS Winter Workshop at Library 21c in Colorado Springs! For those that couldn’t make it or if you want to review a presentation again, the presentations we have received thus far are posted on our blog now at https://catsig.wordpress.com/.
Have a wonderful day and we hope to see you at the next CATS Meeting on April 14th 2017 at Durango Public Library in Durango Colorado!
Great news…CLEF (the Colorado Library Education Foundation) is offering 1 CATS Winter Workshop Scholarship! Apply here https://calwebs.site-ym.com/page/CLEFWorkshopScholar by January 18th and CLEF will notify you by January 24th if you are the one to receive the scholarship.
6 scholarships are available for the 2017 CATS (Children and Teen Services Division of the Colorado Association of Libraries) Winter Workshop! The workshop will be January 30 at Library 21c in Colorado Springs; go to https://catsig.wordpress.com/ for more info. Scholarship recipients will receive free registration for the workshop, which has an excellent lineup of learning and networking opportunities. Apply for a scholarship by January 6 online: